NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After weeks of confusion, all Mardi Gras krewes in New Orleans may be able to return to their traditional routes this year, according to information from the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office indicating that deputies from around the state will be able to provide sufficient security.
Krewes have been scrambling for weeks since Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that traditional routes will be honored as long as the organizations could find enough law enforcement officers on their own to secure those routes. So far, only the super-sized Krewe of Endymion has succeeded in that task.
Since then, a spokesperson for OPSO says Sheriff Susan Hutson has been manning the phones, tracking down deputies from across the state to adequately protect paradegoers. OPSO says it is providing a “significant amount of support” to the NOPD, including some of its own deputies.
On Wed., Jan. 18, Hutson’s office said they were ironing out the final details, but krewes should be able to return to their traditional routes. More details are expected to be released this week.
Mardi Gras Guide publisher Arthur Hardy says he’s cautiously excited about this news, which has been in the works, and that he’ll feel better when the official announcement is made.
“It’s the best possible Mardi Gras news,” Hardy told Fox 8. “I learned about this meeting late last night, that things were in the works, but the details were always where things can fall apart. So I’m ecstatic with the news, but I’ll feel much better when it’s absolutely formalized and all the krewes can begin getting back to normal.”
The officers who volunteer will receive $50/hr on all days except Fat Tuesday when they will be paid $75/hr.
After Mardi Gras was shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2021, krewes were forced to roll down abbreviated routes in 2022 due to police manpower shortages, cutting out dozens of city blocks in some cases.
“It just means a lot to everybody. It also signals a return to pre-pandemic life in New Orleans,” Hardy said.
Both the city and NOPD have refused to answer questions around whether NOPD officers will be paid equivalent or more than deputies and officers from other jurisdictions for working parades. So far, it can only be assumed that NOPD officers should expect to be paid regular pay for regular duty shifts, or regular detail pay.
Mardi Gras will be celebrated on Tues., Feb. 21.
Some NOPD officers expressed frustration over the pay rates for outside help, which are higher than what some officers will be making doing the same work.
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